Starting a small business is so exciting – but it can be daunting! You have so much to do and so many options to choose from, like settling on a name, finding a location, and picking a website platform. There are many website builders to choose from, but which one is right for your small business?
And of course, you can’t put off your website forever. Having an online presence is critical in today’s world. Your customers expect it, and many of them will find you through a quick search. In fact, 97% of consumers search for products and services online. Your website is a modern day Yellow Pages listing, so it’s important to make the most of it.
Here are five key things to look for in a website platform:
1. Full service provider
Pick a provider that can serve you affordably for the life of your business. Not only will they help you get started on a tight budget, but they also offer a full suite of services that can grow with you. A DIY website platform is great when you’re starting out, but if that’s all the company offers, you’ll be stuck when you want to grow.
2. Full set of solutions
Being online is rather complex. Your website will need a good domain name and must be hosted on a reliable platform. You may even want to integrate security features, like SSL, to protect you and your website visitors against cybercrime. You need easy-to-use website builder tools and privacy on your domain name to reduce both email and regular postal mail spam.
Needless to say, your life will be so much easier if you work with a website provider that offers everything under one roof. After all, you need to spend your time running your business, not maintaining your website.
3. Proactive customer service
When you have a question or problem, you need help now – not tomorrow or next week. Be sure your website platform advertises a toll-free number you can call anytime.
Beyond anytime-anywhere customer support, you also want a provider that is focused on superior results. They should go beyond just answering your questions. There’s a lot to know so you’ll want a provider who will coach you along the way as you build your site. If you have someone building your site for you, you’ll want to be sure they are experienced and always up to date on the latest changes happening on the Internet. Beyond the right credentials, such as a Google Certified Provider, a provider who knows the ins and outs of helping your site get found online is critical. You don’t want to launch a website that no one can find.
4. Ability to grow with you
As I mentioned above, a good small business platform should be able to grow with you – otherwise you’ll be spending a lot of time and money to move everything to a new provider at some point down the road. Look for a provider that can help you maximize your online presence as you grow.
For example, they should be able to help you grow visitors to your website by getting your site listed in key online directories and expanding into paid online ads and social media marketing, such as Facebook. A provider who can help write the content for your site and help with strategies to capture online leads or drive traffic to your brick and mortar location will be important as you grow.
5. Experienced and trustworthy
Online and tech-focused companies come and go. Don’t risk the possibility of your website platform going belly up and leaving you stranded. Make sure the provider you choose has been around a while, so they’ll continue to be around for a lot longer.
If you’re ready to get started with your website, try one of Web.com’s services. You can build it yourself with a “DIY” package or they can even build and manage the entire site for you, allowing you to just focus on building your business. Welcome to the world of small business ownership!
Want more assistance growing your business online? Join the Web.com Small Business Forum for free access to our library of ebooks, the latest industry news and support from other business owners, entrepreneurs and working professionals. Join a Group to ask questions, share your opinions and grow your network! Visit Web.com to learn about our full range of affordable website design and online marketing services.